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Bull African elephant arrives at Henry Doorly Zoo

African Elephant 'Callee'  Birmingham Zoo . Scott Kayser.jpg
Posted at 3:12 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 13:27:52-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — An 18-year-old African bull elephant now calls Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium home. After being moved here from a zoo in Birmingham, Alabama. “He's the future for elephants in Omaha this guy,” said Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium director, Dennis Pate.

Callee is new to the zoo. He's the second African bull elephant the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has had transported to them. “Anytime you move something this big and this powerful, it's always exciting for us,” said Pate. He says Callee's journey took about 18 hours, running into a few roadblocks on the way to Omaha from Alabama. “There's a lot of logistics to moving an elephant both at the loading end and the receiving end,” said Pate.

African elephants are on the endangered species list. Currently there are only four confirmed breeders in the US. The zoo hopes Callee will become number five. “It’s to help increase the sustainability of elephants in North America,” said Pate.

Callee traveled to Omaha in style, with a water tank, plenty of hay, an air-conditioned trailer, and his handlers from Alabama to help make the smooth transition. “He shows a lot of promise, so we are very excited to hopefully later today get the girls in the barn and see how curious they are about him,” said Sarah Armstrong, the elephant manager at the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

For Armstrong seeing Callee was love at first sight. “Overtime we'll all build solid relationships with him, gain his trust through all things positive and we all look forward to that,” she said.

Even though elephant babies are on the brain for the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Armstrong says they don't expect to see any babies for at least three years.

Callee will join a heard of six other African elephants in the Suzanne and Walter Scott African Grasslands exhibit. He was born on September 22, 2000 at the Pittsburgh Zoo.